“Racist ideology justifies the deprivation of disfavoured groups.” — Simon Kuper in the FT.
Anyone with an open mind and a caring heart would have to agree this sums up the way domestic helpers are treated in Hong Kong.
One person who is working to combat their poor treatment is Alexandra Carlile, Sai Kung mum about town and KGV teacher. She has set up one of the fastest growing Facebook groups, Sai Kung Helpers for Helpers. At time of writing it had reached 4,702 members.
Alexandra created the chatroom three years ago. “I saw many helpers wanting to join Sai Kung Mummies,” a group she set up a couple of years earlier. “I realised they needed a place of support. They clearly had different needs and questions.”
Sai Kung Helpers for Helpers aims to support domestic workers, Alexandra said, by linking them with employers and providing resources and advice. Anyone in Sai Kung can join. Most postings are helpers seeking work or employers trying to find staff.
The occasional odd comment pops up: One woman said she wanted a helper who is “not planning to get pregnant”. Who knows what experiences she has had, but Christian Action, the charity that supports domestic helpers, reports pregnancy is a common reason for employers shoving girls out onto the street. CA has beds in hostels for helpers who need a refuge and provides them with legal advice.
Alexandra runs the Facebook chatroom by herself, checking it daily, deleting anything inappropriate and adding resources. Anyone who can provide support for helpers is welcome on the chatroom, she said.